Dr Sinha M. A. Sayeed
Any attempt to know and understand Osman I or Osman Gazi (Ottoman Turkish: عثمان غازى Osman Ghazi; Turkish: I. Osman or Osman Bey or Osman Gazi or Osman Gazi Han; 1258–1326), sometimes transliterated in the past as Othman or Ottoman and nicknamed “Kara” (“black” in Turkish), was the leader of the Ottoman Turks and the founder and namesake of the dynasty that established and ruled the Ottoman Empire, shall take a reader/listener readily to Sheikh Edebali (1258–1326), also referred as Balışeyh, was a highly influential Turkish Sufi Sheikh, who helped shape and develop the policies of the growing Ottoman State. A descendant of Banu Tamim tribe (Arabic: بنو تميم) and the Al Khater / Khater (Arabic: خاطر) family he commanded great respect in the religious circles. Edebali and Ertufrul Ghazi, father of Osman Zhazi, was very close to each other and they frequently conversed about Islam and the state of affairs of Muslims in Anatolia.Osman, a young prince, was known and praised widely for his religious piety. He had been Edebali’s guest several times who became Osman’s mentor and eventually girt him with a Ghazi Sword, subsequently came to be branded as The Sword of Osman (Turkish: Taklide-Seif). It was an important sword of state used during the coronation ceremony of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire. The practice started when Osman was girt with the sword of Islam by his mentor and father-in-law Sheik Edebali.The girding of the sword of Osman was a vital ceremony which took place within two weeks of a sultan’s accession to the throne. It was held at the tomb complex at Eyüp, on the Golden Horn waterway in the capital Constantinople. The fact that the emblem by which a sultan was enthroned consisted of a sword was highly symbolic: it showed that the office with which he was invested was first and foremost that of a warrior. The Sword of Osman was girded on to the new sultan by the Sharif of Konya, a Mevlevi dervish, who was summoned to Constantinople for that purpose. Such a privilege was reserved to devout religious leaders from the time Osman had established his residence in Konya in 1299, before the capital was moved to Bursa and later to Constantinople.
Osmon frequently visited Edebali in his home at Eskisehir where a dervish group met. One night, when Osman was a guest in Edebali’s dergah, he had a dream as under:
‘Osman saw himself and his host reposing near each other.
From the bosom of Edebali rose the full moon[a], and inclining towards the bosom of Osman it sank upon it, and was lost to sight.
After that a goodly tree sprang forth, which grew in beauty and in strength, ever greater and greater.
Still did the embracing verdure of its boughs and branches cast an ampler and an ampler shade, until they canopied the extreme horizon of the three parts of the world. Under the tree stood four mountains, which he knew to be Caucasus, Atlas, Taurus, and Haemus.
These mountains were the four columns that seemed to support the dome of the foliage of the sacred tree with which the earth was now centered.
From the roots of the tree gushed forth four rivers, the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Danube, and the Nile.
Tall ships and barks innumerable were on the waters.
The fields were heavy with harvest.
The mountain sides were clothed with forests.
Thence in exulting and fertilizing abundance sprang fountains and rivulets that gurgled through thickets of the cypress and the rose.
In the valleys glittered stately cities, with domes and cupolas, with pyramids and obelisks, with minerates and towers.
The Crescent shone on their summits: from their galleries sounded the Muezzin’s call to prayer.
That sound was mingled with the sweet voices of a thousand nightingales, and with the prattling of countless parrots of every hue.
Every kind of singing bird was there.
The winged multitude warbled and flitted around beneath the fresh living roof of the interlacing branches of the all-overarching tree; and every leaf of that tree was in shape like unto a scimitar.
Suddenly there arose a mighty wind, and turned the points of the sword-leaves towards the various cities of the world, but especially towards Constantinople.
That city, placed at the junction of two seas and two continents, seemed like a diamond set between two sapphires and two emeralds, to form the most precious stone in a ring of universal empire’.
Osman told this to his mentor Edebali. After an epigrammatic stillness, Edebali interpreted:
“Congratulations Osman! God Almighty bestowed sovereignty upon you and your generation. My daughter will be your wife, and the whole world will be under the protection of your children.
This is to be recalled here with relevance and reference that Osman had meanwhile fallen in love with Edebali’s daughter Rabia Bala Hatun and proposed him to marry his daughter. But considering the overall weights and unevenness between the two families, Edebali showed negative attitude to the offer. Now he with good grace consented and the marriage took place in 1289 placing her as the second wife of Osman1 since his first wife was Malhun Hatun and thus the dream virtually led to the establishment of the Ottoman State.
Factually speaking, Edebali’s advice to his son in law, Osman Ghazi, shaped and developed Ottoman administration and rule for six centuries. In one famous declaration, Edebali about statecraft and kingship told Osman:
‘O my son! Now you are king!
From now on, wrath is for us; for you, calm!
For us to be offended; for you to please!
For us to accuse; for you to endure!
For us, helplessness and error; for you, tolerance!
For us, quarrel; for you, justice!
For us, envy, rumour, slander; for you, forgiveness!
O my son!
From now on, it is for us to divide; for you to unite!
For us, sloth; for you, warning and encouragement!
O my son!
Be patient, a flower does not bloom before its time. Never forget: Let man flourish, and the state will also flourish!
O my son!
Your burden is heavy, your task hard, your power hangs on a hair! May God be your helper!’
Advice of Sheikh Edebali to Osman Ghazi preserved on marble [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheikh_Edebali]
In directing his son Orhan or Orhan Bey (Ottoman: اورخان غازی, Orhan Gazi; 1281 – March 1362), the second bey of the nascent Ottoman Empire (then known as the Ottoman Beylik or Emirate) from 1326 to 1362, to continue the administrative policies set forth by Sheik Edebali, Osman stated:
‘Son! Be careful about the religious issues before all other duties. The religious precepts build a strong state. Do not give religious duties to careless, faithless and sinful men or to dissipated, indifferent or inexperienced people. And also do not leave the state administrations to such people. Because the one with fear of God the Creator, has no fear of the created. One who commits a great sin and continues to sin cannot be loyal. Scholars, virtuous men, artists and literary men are the power of the state structure. Treat them with kindness and honour. Build close relationship when you hear about a virtuous man and give wealth and grant him…Put order the political and religious duties. Take lesson from me so I came to these places as a weak leader and I reached to the help of God although I did not deserve. You follow my way and protect Din-i-Muhammadi and the believers and also your followers. Respect the right of God and His servants. Do not hesitate to advise your successors in this way. Depend on God’s help in the esteem of justice and fairness, to remove the cruelty, attempts in every duty. Protect your public from enemy’s invasion and from the cruelty. Do not behave any person in an unsuitable way with unfairness. Gratify the public and save all of their sake [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orhan_Ghazi]’
Therefore, one may safely conclude that for a leader, politician or statesman unfolding reality is that Osman1, founder of Ottoman Empire, remains still a source of inspiration and enrichment. He is indeed a case to be recalled, not to be set aside for politics and statecraft in our perspective as well. Let our political stalwarts take reasonably acceptable stocks from him as well.
[Dr. Sinha M. A. Sayeed, Chairman of Leadership Studies Foundation, member of International Political Science Association, writer and columnist at email@example.com , Bangladesh] The opinions expressed in this article are of the author and do not necessarily refelct those of GreenWatch Dhaka)
Dr Sinha M. A. Sayeed